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How to Defrost Your Freezer

How to Defrost Your Freezer

You open your freezer in search of ice cream, only to be met with an icy obstacle course. Frozen food is shoved in every crevice. Sheets of ice are lining the coils and walls. If this sounds familiar, it might be time for a defrosting session. Keep reading to learn why defrosting your freezer is essential and how to make the process a breeze.

Freezer Defrost 101

Why do you need to defrost a freezer?

When you open your freezer door, condensation can get trapped inside. Condensation then freezes, typically to the freezer’s coils and interior walls. That ice builds up and requires manual removal if your freezer does not have an automatic defrost.

However, if your freezer has an auto-defrost function (check the user manual), congratulations! You don’t need to defrost your freezer; it does so automatically.

What happens if you don’t defrost your freezer?

Neglecting to clean your freezer, like other kitchen appliance deep cleans, can affect its performance. When the freezer coils are caked in layers of ice, they work harder to keep your food cold. This causes the freezer to use more energy, affecting your electric bill. Additionally, if your freezer becomes overloaded, it may become damaged or die entirely.

How often should you defrost your freezer?

Good news: you only need to defrost your freezer once a year unless ice build-up occurs more quickly than that. If possible, plan your defrosting a few weeks in advance to time it with a clean-out of your fridge.

How to Defrost a Freezer Without Getting Water Everywhere

There are a few different ways to defrost your freezer. No matter your method, it’s critical to reference your freezer manufacturer’s booklet beforehand for model-specific instructions.

How to clean a freezer without turning it off

  1. If you have a small freezer, or don’t have time to dedicate to a full defrost, try this quick method.
  2. Place frozen food in a cooler.
  3. Mix hot water and a bit of soap or white vinegar in a container. (Note: Avoid bleach and scented soap, as it may affect food taste.)
  4. Place towels on the floor in front of the freezer to catch any leakage.
  5. Dip a cloth in hot water, and wipe down any ice. Break off the ice with a spatula if needed.
  6. After removing the ice, clean any stains, old food, and shelves.
  7. Use a dry cloth to wipe out the freezer.
  8. Close the doors to the freezer until it returns to normal temperature.
  9. Dry up any water on the floor to avoid slipping!
  10. Once your freezer has reached its usual temperature, return food to the freezer.

Rent-A-Center Tip: To prevent permanent damage, never use metal tools, knives, hair dryers, or sharp objects to break up ice in your freezer.

How to perform a freezer deep clean

If you’ve got an especially icy freezer, a large freezer, or time to dedicate to a deep clean, use these steps to clean your freezer more thoroughly.

  1. Remove food. If your freezer has a connected refrigerator, remove food from there too.
  2. Unplug the freezer.
  3. Place towels on the floor in front of the freezer. (Note: If your freezer has a drainage hose, place shims under the freezer to tilt it towards the drainage hose.)
  4. Remove trays and drawers from the freezer.
  5. Open the door to the freezer, and wait. Change out towels if needed.
  6. Once the ice begins melting, use a spatula or warm rag to remove some ice.
  7. Once the ice melts fully, use soapy water or a water/baking soda mix to clean.
  8. Use a dry rag to dry out the inside of the freezer
  9. Put back any shelves or drawers you removed.
  10. Plug the freezer back in, and allow it to cool before replacing the food.

Rent-A-Center Tip: Pointing a fan at the open freezer can help accelerate the defrosting process. You could also place bowls or trays of hot — not boiling — water in the freezer.

How to Keep Ice from Building up in the Freezer: Dos and Don’ts

After all that cleaning, you’re probably wondering how to prevent ice buildup in the future. Although ice accumulation is a natural part of keeping items frozen, there are a few ways to prolong the process.

Don’t leave the freezer door open for long periods.

Avoid frequently opening and closing or leaving the freezer door open for long periods of time. Doing so can cause moisture to become trapped inside, which can eventually turn into ice.

Do clean the freezer door gasket regularly.

Wipe the door gasket down using a mix of baking soda and warm water. Be sure to dry it when you’re done. If the seal on the door around your freezer door is looking a little ragged, consider purchasing a new gasket.

Don’t put hot food in the freezer.

Wait for food to cool down before placing it in the freezer. The hot air from your warm meal can lead to frost formation.

Do check the temperature.

The recommended temperature for a freezer is 0º Fahrenheit. If the temperature is too high or too low, ice can form. Frequently fluctuating temperatures can lead to ice maker issues and messy leaks in your fridge and on your floor.

Refrigerator or Freezer Giving You the Cold Shoulder?

Regularly defrosting your fridge can help maintain the performance and longevity of your appliance. But for a fridge and freezer that’s on the fritz, Rent-A-Center can help. With our flexible payment options and free delivery, you can have a refrigerator with updated technology as soon as today! Shop online or visit your nearest Rent-A-Center today!

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